by Lawal Lawal
“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”
I had a germ of an idea, started to write, hit a wall, walked away, and didn’t finish. But I am determined to publish something today not cause it’s October 1st (oh, it maybe because of that actually). It’s the anniversary of this blog.
Six years ago today, Aguntasolo.com was started by Feyi in what turned out to be an educative platform and seems a fun outlet for him to share thoughts, reviews, rants, travelogue and other random “words on the streets” for everyone who wanted to read them (and those he abused who wouldn’t want to read them).
Given that my work involves monitoring, evaluating and regulating others, and I read so many blog posts and columns by other people about what makes good content and bad content, I want to contribute to the Feyi’s noise and send a note of encouragement.
I have to say by all measures, Feyi has done what I have always wanted to do, blog-wise! I started blogging in Dec, 2008; I published only once, and have over a dozen drafts laying somewhere on the blog! They say it’s what you accomplish, not what you start!
At first probe, Feyi seems your regular Naija guy: born and bred in Lagos, schooled here in Nigeria up till first degree, knows all the kpako stuff, climbed up the ladder to become an “init guy”… now even lives in London. However, Feyi becomes the quintessential guy once you start talking economy particularly the political economy of Nigeria, a little into Africa and Europe: the world wars, the EEC Marketplace, the American monetary policy vs the EEC, and a bit further more.
If not writing some economic intelligence-type reports chasing the Putin of Cement wars (not my naming), Feyi is playing the CIA uncovering fraudulent use of public funds for smear campaigns by Nigeria’s President adviser on New(?) Media. Feyi also comes across as an atypical adviser on dropping stereotypes, name tagging and unnecessary foul-calling including being careful living as an expat.
Feyi has turned a muckraker and taken onto him the very big task of opening up the shallowness in government thinking especially regards indiscriminate tax waivers to the most unneeded of them all: Africa’s richest man. This same thought saw his highly critical pieces about the Auto Policy (National Automotive Policy), it’s initial launching and celebration even before being drafted and published; it’s shoddiness; it’s clear lean towards the auto manufacturers (or more appropriately, assemblers, or best importers). This hard stand couldn’t be waivered even after getting an hour call from the Nigerian Minister of Trades and Investment himself.
It has been an incredibly fast six years of reading hard-hitting jabs from Feyi. Aguntasolo.com seemed like any other pour-out-your-heart blog. But the sheer bravery of the author, mixed with muckraker skills in uncovering recurring economic irrationalities from government officials and business circles, gave the blog an authority and integrity few had chance to garner.
Aguntasolo.com hasn’t exactly changed a lot, nor changed flare, during this period. This blog has taken my time, but I have to say, in interesting ways… I am sure, it has done exactly that to the Author, Feyi, in directions he might not have ever expected, and led to some unexpected bashings, opportunities and connections. At least, he got a call from Mustapha Chike-Obi and Segun Aganga (which still didn’t pacify the much disappointed and perfectionist Feyi). It also got Feyi an invite to cover the Bloomberg TV Africa’s Football Dynamics show, a presentation at GenVoices and an invite to the GEF Africa 2014 in Abuja.
Aguntasolo.com has helped the ordinary Nigerian understand issues such as Credit Crunches, the import/export Holy Grail, various election debacles, auto industry, and a whole bunch of others. My most educative is his take on GM Foods.
The ten most interesting pieces for me are
- Be Careful (July 16, 2013). I know it was meant for the elites, but the import is extremely relevant even for those of us who don’t live in the west.
- Tokunbo Cars and Terror Funding: A Working Example (May 3, 2014). This is the most impactful writing due to its relevance today in Nigeria. A look at how much comments it generated showed you how much we cherish the war against terror (or maybe our comprehension of the article).
- The Acronyms of Power – A Movie About Electricity Reforms (1988 – 2014) March 10, 2014. I thought I should know some things here, but trust ‘reading’, you’ll always learn something new.
- Books… I love books, so… My Books Of 2013 (December 25, 2013)
- The ASUU Problem (and its subsequent follow-ups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) (started September 25, 2013).
- Grand Theft AMCON? The N1.6trn Question And its update where Chike-Obi called Feyi to respond (December 15 and 17, 2012)
- My Very Own Gani Fawehinmi (September 7, 2009). This is probably one of Feyi’s most personal and you can ‘see’ his nostalgic happiness and hurt.
- The Case for and against Against Sanusi Lamido Sunusi (June 10-11, 2014); By Feyi’s account the most visited posts and it generated so much debate in the comments sections as well as his social media outlets.
- The Word on the Streets (and its various updates) through all six editions; for the various educative insights.
10. And of course, the infamous Mr. Wendell Simlin (March 3, 2014); for the important sizing up of the main actors in the disgraceful misadventure.
Feyi has courted good amount of foes and antagonism, but at least he has also made people write like him (http://goo.gl/TLoUyU).
In all that I have read in Aguntasolo.com, I was only able to spot few gbaguans including Letter to Ahmad… Well done Feyi!
Nearly a hundred and seventy posts later, Aguntasolo.com has become a go-to point for in-depth analysis and ‘the other view’ of things. These alternative viewpoints are essential in opening up what authorities usually choke down our throat as our best medicine and cure with no alternative.
With over 600+ pages of articles, Feyi has about 15,000 followers on Twitter with over 110,000 Tweets and about 4100 friends from over these years of Facebooking. (What exactly does Feyi do at his office?)
In my years of reading socio-economic-centric blogs, I feel this blog is perhaps half way there with the ‘basics’ of questioning or memorable explanations. The self-reflections on this process are the reason why even key authorities have to make amends and incremental improvements. This blog, like some others, is one key tool to reflect, as too often in the hurly burly of the job such clear, reflective thinking simply becomes too difficult.
Other people appear to be paralyzed by a pursuit of perfection and therefore decline to publish. Perhaps is it the ideals of sharing for the benefit of all, some may even say the superiority complex, but it is apparent the author has chosen to stick to the attitude of publish and be damned!
I know some people view blogging as an act of arrogance – a symbol of a misguided sense of a person’s sense of self-importance. The problem with that perspective is that if we all lived by this thinking, then no-one would produce or publish anything. People who persist with this complaint need to get over themselves: stop chipping away at the ideas of others and produce some of their own they deem better!
Of course, the converse is true that having people read and respond to your personal reflections, perspectives or experiences and learning ideas is tremendously motivational. It takes habit building – finding a routine: a space to write; a time of day; the usual tools and treats that give you those vital daily cues that writing needs to be completed. Of course, like anything worth doing, blogging does require perseverance. I like the perspective of Alexander Graham Bell, of telephone patenting and “99% perspiration” fame, on this:
“You cannot force ideas. Successful ideas are the result of slow growth. Ideas do not reach perfection in a day, no matter how much study is put upon them. It is perseverance in the pursuit of studies that is really wanted.”
I believe Feyi should feel some pride at having reached this point. Pride at the fact that an amazing number of people, elites, commoners, government topshots, have all taken the time to read the posts and leave comments. Pride in the knowledge that blogging has helped in the pursuit of becoming a better citizen and now a part-time teacher, muckraker and advocate.
Read some peoples earlier blogs and find themselves disagreeing with their later selves, but that is part of the discovery. However, it is instructive that aguntasolo.com has remained consistent and firm.
I hope Aguntasolo.com plans to be up for some action for a longer while! Thank you for writing, tweeting and the morning sarcasms (from the newspaper reviews).
So here we are after six good years of putting keystrokes to the paper, celebrating aguntasolo.com and of course Feyi. Very big cheers to the author but certainly to the readers and commentators too, who keep up the washing, intellectual reviews and even outright silliness. May the education continue…
– Follow this writer on Twitter: @lylawal